Less than five years after being removed from the endangered species list, peregrine falcons could be facing a new threat. A Swedish study found that eggs of peregrine falcons in that country contain high levels of a popular flame retardant, deca-BDE, which scientists have long thought could not get into wildlife. Falcons in North America are likely to face the same threat, the researchers say.
The birds eggs contained some of the highest levels of BDEs (brominated diphenyl ethers) ever found in any kind of wildlife, and this was the first time that the deca formulation of BDE has been found in a living organism. The findings add to mounting concern among some scientists that deca-BDE — the worlds most widely used brominated flame-retardant — is not as harmless as previously believed.
The report, which examined three peregrine falcon populations in Sweden — two in the wild and one in captivity — appears in the current edition (Jan. 1) of Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the worlds largest scientific society.
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